Does a child that was adopted, have rights to their biological father’s estate?

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Does a child that was adopted, have rights to their biological father’s estate?

No Will.

Asked on December 1, 2010 under Estate Planning, Virginia

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

When a child is adopted, parental rights of the birth parents are terminated.  This cuts off the relationship between the parents and their biological child concerning the rights, responsibilities, and obligations of the birth parents toward the child. It also cuts off the responsibilities and obligations of the adopted child to the birth parents. It does not, however, necessarily cut the right of the adopted child to inherit from his or her birth parents if they die "intestate" (without a Will).  The VA law states that an adopted child has all of the rights associated with a child born into a lawful marriage and the inheritance rights of adopted children include any and all inheritance rights “by, through, or from a person.” This has been interpreted to mean that an adopted child inherits not only from the adoptive parents but also from any relatives, through the medium of the adoptive parents.  In VA the adopted child may still inherit from their birth parents. Under VA law, the parents whose rights have been terminated no longer have any legal rights or obligations regarding the adopted child.  However, the law only takes away the child's legal obligations to their birth parents and not necessarily the rights of the adopted child in respect to their birth parents. 

Note:  VA does not allow the birth parents of a child who has been subsequently adopted to inherit from that child or to demand any support from that child unless the adoption is a stepparent adoption.

Since this can all get very complicated, you really should consult with a probate attorney in VA.


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